We’ve got a new song we’re going to start working on this week, “Let Him Go On Mama,” by the great John Hartford. For those of you unfamiliar with Hartford, he was a true polymath. Legendary as a songwriter, banjo player, fiddler, step dancer, and he even had a gig as a writer on the Smothers Brothers show. Oh, and he was an actual steamboat captain on the Mississippi River too. He literally used to take a month or two off in the summer at the peak of music festival season, to pilot the Julia Belle Swain, a riverboat on the Mississippi that shows up in a bunch of his songs. Hartford is a big hero of mine and many others.
This song is off of his record, Mark Twang. It’s about an old-time river man who has a changing world around him. I love it. Musically, it’s pretty simple. There are two verses at the top and then it alternates verse - chorus for the rest of the song. Play it easy and loping, and get into the vibe of the old man that you’re singing about!
If you want to explore more John Hartford check out the albums Aero-Plain, Mark Twang, and Morning Bugle. And there’s plenty more to explore from there,
Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Let Him Go On Mama
Loop 0:00 Run-Through of Let Him Go On Mama
Loop 4:36 Introduction to Let Him Go On Mama and John Hartford
Loop 5:48 Breakdown of Song Form and Chords
Loop 10:58 Rhythm Guitar Feel
Loop 13:29 Closing Thoughts and Outro